"New Mexico Loophole May Allow Record Methane Releases"

"Despite efforts to rein in emissions, state is unlikely to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals, group says."

"In the first two months of the year, the pipeline company Targa Northern Delaware vented more climate-damaging natural gas from its operations in New Mexico than all other oil and gas producers in the state combined — 250% more, an amount equivalent to the carbon footprint of nearly 26,000 gasoline-powered cars driven for a year.

The state’s landmark 2021 Methane Rule banned routine venting and flaring of natural gas. But some 15 exceptions for pipeline operators allow such venting and flaring in certain circumstances, including when gas is so far out of pipeline specifications that it constitutes an “emergency,” which is what the company claimed 10 times in the first two months of the year, each time releasing millions of cubic feet of the potent greenhouse gas.

Those releases were enough to push the state’s January and February venting totals to their highest levels since the state began closely tracking venting and flaring in 2021 as part of the Methane Rule. That rule was put in place as part of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s drive to rein in greenhouse gas emissions across the state, particularly in the oil and gas industry — the state’s biggest emitter. Natural gas is mostly methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas that is 80 times more capable of trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide."

Jerry Redfern reports for Capital & Main May 14, 2024.

Source: Capital & Main, 05/16/2024